Last year, I wrote a blog piece about verge gardens and whether it’s safe to have food growing so close to a road. My piece showed that if you take certain precautions, that it should be okay.
So after my research, I decided to strike out and make my own verge garden. I have a corner block and thankfully the long side is on a quiet street. Last year, I decided to move a few things around my backyard. Rather than get rid of my timber planter boxes, I decided to move them onto my nature strip.
I excitedly and busily moved all the soil with the help of some kiddies. I added some compost and planned to extend my vegetable garden.
I then had an idea to get the neighbours involved also. To start a ‘gardening club’ of sorts with my neighbours. There are many families with children around me, so I thought it would be a great chance to get to know neighbours and for my children to meet some children that live close to us.
So I planned two weekends of neighbourhood activity. One week to plant the seeds and the following week to paint the planter boxes. I put together a flyer and went door knocking.
The response: a bit underwhelming!
In the meantime my children were very excited about the ‘Gardening Club’ we were starting in our neighbourhood. On the agreed day, at the agreed time we all started to plant our new garden. Unfortunately with the exception of one of my immediate neighbours, no other neighbours came to help us plant our new vegetables. My children were a little disappointed, but we got together and planted some lovely things: carrots, flowers, chillies, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, lemongrass, parsley, sage and so on.
In the immediate time after the planting, I did get a few ‘looks’ from passers by. A verge garden is not a common sight in my part of Sydney, but I think most have gotten used to it. I’ve even managed to share some of the produce with a few neighbours, which they’ve loved.
So, some tips for a verge garden:
- Dial before you dig http://www.1100.com.au/: you should call this free service to make sure there are no utilities or any issues where you decide to make your garden;
- Have raised beds;
- Talk to neigbbours before planting and see whether they’d like to be part of the planning. Even though I provided all free plants, seeds and compost, my neighbours weren’t engaged, but your might be;
- Plant some flowers too to make it pretty and attractive and attract pollinators like bees; and